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Adult disclosure of child sexual abuse: a literature review

Author(s)Tener, Dafna and Sharon B. Murphy
Title Adult disclosure of child sexual abuse: a literature review
Source Trauma, Violence & Abuse,published online 4 June 2014, pp1-10
Date 2014
Document type Journal article
Summary This article reviews the literature on adult disclosure of child sexual abuse, examining decisions to disclose during adulthood, barriers and facilitators of the disclosure, the process of telling, and the impact of disclosure on the survivors' well-being. The research revealed that disclosure of sexual abuse during adulthood is a complicated process that is only partially understood. Adult survivors are at risk for intrapersonal difficulties such as lacking awareness of whether they were abused and interpersonal barriers such as fear of others' reactions to their stories of abuse. Survivors are also affected by social and cultural attitudes. Implications for practice, policy and research are discussed and it is suggested, for example, that future research should focus specifically on the process of disclosing during adulthood, distinguishing between childhood and adulthood disclosure. Future research should also focus on age differences among survivors.
Keywords Child abuse; sexual abuse; disclosure; reporting; adult survivors

Sexual assault